Celebrating 60 years of Phototherapy

It is fairly common for newborn babies to have mild jaundice, and the condition is usually resolved without any intervention. Sometimes, however, the jaundice is severe, and if it is not treated, it leads to a condition called kernicterus. In this condition, the brain of the baby is damaged by the high level of bilirubin in the blood. This can result in problems with hearing and vision and in intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy.

Fortunately, the treatment of this condition is simple. It requires exposing the skin of the baby to light, particularly blue light of a particular wavelength. This treatment is called phototherapy.

Phototherapy was discovered around 60 years back. Since then, this simple treatment has saved many babies from the ill effects of kernicterus.

An event was organised in Delhi on July 28 2018 at India Habitat Centre to celebrate six decades of phototherapy. It was aimed at spreading awareness about the serious effects of kernicterus, benefits of phototherapy and the health of newborn infants in general.

The Department of Pediatrics of AIIMS, PRESIDE (Pediatric Research and Education Society of India), IndiaNeoDesigns (a non-profit NGO of academia-industry promoting technology in neonatal health) and Stanford University, USA jointly organised a day-long event to commemorate 60-years of invention of phototherapy that has saved millions of babies. Phoenix Medical Systems was the industry partner for the event.

Indigenous innovations in the field of neonatology and maternal health were exhibited. It provided an opportunity for neonatal professionals, decision makers from private and government segment and technologists to discuss and collaborate.

A panel discussion was held amidst stalwarts like Prof VK Bhutani, Prof ON Bhakoo, Prof JP Mittal, Prof Neelam Kler, Prof VK Paul etc.. Also a stakeholder meeting on India’s path to a global leader in neonatal health technology involving NITI Ayog, ICMR, DBT, Wellcome Trust, BMGF, academia and industry was held.

A similar such event was organized in Chennai on Aug 1 2018. The event was jointly organized by the National Neonatology Forum (NNF) in partnership with IndiaNeodesigns. Among the guest speakers was Dr. Darez Ahmed, Mission Director of National Health Mission (NHM) and Dr. Arun Kumar Singh, National Advisor – RBSK.


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